E Pluribus Plurum | Sojourners

E Pluribus Plurum

After reading Two Nations, one can only conclude that racism is an intrinsic part of life in the United States of America. Step by step and issue by issue, Hacker, with the help of a mountain of statistics and data, makes it clear: Racism cannot be ignored. In fact, Hacker asserts that the severity of the racial divisions has created two nations - one black, another white - within the United States.

In the introduction Hacker states, "Everyone of us could write a book about race." From these first words through the final pages, including statistical tables and references, he demonstrates the reality of the division of the country into black and white.

The very fact that this book could be written using data from many government agencies, research from private corporations, and material from educational institutions is a clear indication of Hacker's point. We are divided in such a way that even in the collection of data about ourselves as a people we must have separate statistics for whites and people of color.

I am sure that Hacker can and will be attacked for his reading and interpretations of such data. For instance, in his analysis of the SAT (a nationally administered standardized college entrance exam), he explains that the test only measures "how well students have prepared for the admission competition, which in turn reflects a willingness to adapt to a structure of success set up by the adult society." Hacker also argues that "the way people cast their ballots often provides an index of how they think and feel about race."

These statements confront those people who believe in the fairness of the educational system and other American institutional structures. Hacker does present his case well, however, and he demonstrates again and again the intentional planning for the continued white control of institutional power.

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Sojourners Magazine October 1992
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